1 2 Previous Next 57 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2013 1:32 AM by PSmits

    Relative Link Paths

    Level 1
      It would be great if you could set all links, or individual links, within a document to be either absolute or relative.

      Every time I change a drive letter or folder name where a linked file is stored, I have to re-link it within InDesign. If I could specify a relative path for these such links (e.g. "../../image.psd") then it would go a long way to avoiding this issue. Making the path type changeable per link would mean files which reside in a folder which never changes would mean you could confidently set them as absolute paths.
        • 1. Re: Relative Link Paths
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional
          > Every time I change a drive letter or folder name where a linked file is stored...

          You've got me curious...why are you doing that?

          • 2. Re: Relative Link Paths
            Level 1
            I have a huge image/vector library which I'm constantly adding to, rearranging etc. I like everything to be very structured, so from time to time it's necessary to rename a folder in order to encompass a description of its contents more accurately.

            Additionally, when upgrading program versions, some folder structures have become obsolete. For example, InDesign CS3 allows me to place INDD files within others, thus eliminating the need for a special PDF folder I used to keep PDF versions in. However, this folder also contained other PDFs, but overall it no longer logically fitted within its parent folder, so I had to distribute the files differently.

            I'm sure that makes no sense to you, but basically I'm forever streamlining my files and folders. :)
            • 3. Re: Relative Link Paths
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)
              so how does a relative path help you here? If you move or rename the folder, you destroy that path information the same as you would for absolute paths. Your example implies the linked file is located in the same folder as the document, I think.
              • 4. Re: Relative Link Paths
                Level 1
                Yes, the example is where a file is located within the current folder.

                Say your document is located here:


                You have placed files, located here:


                Later, you rename the root folder thusly:


                With an absolute path, all files that were within the "Clients" folder will now have broken links. With a relative path, the links remain intact. If you had other linked files not within the "Clients" folder, you could set them to absolute paths, so that those links also remained intact.
                • 5. Re: Relative Link Paths
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)
                  Well, it appears to me that is exactly the way it works now on my system. I've just renamed root folders for several clients with various link patterns. One has links in the same folder as the doc, one in a sub-folder directly below the doc, and one has some in many places, including a completely different branch of the directory tree under the same client root, i.e the document is in clients\clentname\newsletters\month and some links are located there, but others are located in clients\clentname\logos\better.

                  Changing the root name of the clientname folder in each case caused no problem whatever with missing links. If you rename the "better" folder to "use these" I'm sure you will have trouble, but that's because you've destroyed the relative tree structure within your root.
                  • 6. Re: Relative Link Paths
                    Level 1
                    The way it works right now is a mix between absolute and relative. It stores absolute addresses. But if it can't find the link at the absolute address (e.g., because of some renaming of the sort just discussed), then it will look for them inside the document's folder, although just how deeply it will look, I'm not sure.

                    This is how packaging works. You package a file and all the links are copied to a Links folder inside the package folder. When that package is moved to another computer, the links can't be found at the addresses held in the InDesign document and so it checks inside the document folder and there they are.

                    What relative addressing would allow would be the kind of sharing of common elements that can be done on web sites by using links that go up a level, across to another folder and then down.

                    • 7. Re: Relative Link Paths
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)
                      >What relative addressing would allow would be the kind of sharing of common elements that can be done on web sites by using links that go up a level, across to another folder and then down.

                      I'm doing that now. As long as you don't rename a folder in the middle of the path (i.e. everything is below the folder you rename) it works fine. If the target is in a folder on a different branch of the same tree and you rename something partway out that branch, you break the link.
                      • 8. Re: Relative Link Paths
                        Level 1

                        Yes, it works on a single machine, but if you try to move the whole project to another machine (or disk on the same machine), the "relative" links are all broken. Relative links make for easy moving of stuff. Generally, InDesign documents are held in static locations so relative links aren't that important, but there are times when I've wished for them.

                        • 9. Re: Relative Link Paths
                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)
                          I'm a little confused now about how you want to move things. Moving the whole project implies moving the links as well as the document, at least to me, and that says "package," but I'm playing with simply moving directories.

                          I've just moved a document from one physical drive to another on my workstation and opened it without any issue -- the links stayed where they were and were still accessible since they are on the same machine.

                          I've also just moved the document back, then moved the entire client folder to the second drive so nothing was left in it's original location. Again, the document opened as if it were never moved, which implies to me that I could move it to a second physical machine the same way (and in fact I have -- most of my client folders are duplicated on my laptop).

                          I think Grant's problem is that he is interrupting the path information by changing the names somewhere besides the top level. I don't think you can expect any application to figure out that instead of looking in fred\martha\george\larry it should look in fred\martha\josephine\larry.

                          • 10. Re: Relative Link Paths
                            Level 1
                            But packages don't work at a project level -- think of a book with 15 chapters with a mix of project art and chapter art. You really only want the project art once. That's where relative links would help me.

                            • 11. Re: Relative Link Paths
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)
                              I don't do a lot of booked projects, and so I don't have your scenario, I guess. Can you package a book or do you need to do the files individually? If the latter, I can see where it would take some manual work to move everything into one links folder after doing the packages. Perhaps it would be more useful to ask for the ability to package a book if that can't be done now.
                              • 12. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                Level 1
                                This comes up about once a year, so it's not a big deal. I was just explaining a circumstance where the feature would be useful. I usually end up packaging each chapter and not worrying about the duplication -- it's not that disk space is an issue any more.

                                • 13. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                  Level 1
                                  I don't really do books/packages very often either. In fact 99% of my work is printed internally so I never really have to transport it around.

                                  The only real reason I ever rename folders and end up with broken links is because I'm constantly refining my folder structures and file naming conventions.

                                  I think you could both agree though, that there is some utility value in allowing both relative and absolute paths, even if for only a minority.
                                  • 14. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    If you rename a folder in the middle of the path, or move a file to a new location, how do you expect to InDesign to know the new name and/or location? I can't see how relative/absolute comes into play here, but maybe I'm just dense this week.

                                    We've already established that you can move an entire branch or rename the root folder without losing links -- you just can't screw around in the middle somewhere.

                                    • 15. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                      Level 1
                                      Maybe part of the problem here is the loose use of the word "relative." In Grant's OP, he specified that he'd like to be able to use the Web convention "../../image.psd" In this case, ID would know to go UP the hierarchy a certain number of levels (depending on how many ../'s there are), and THEN search down through all directories.

                                      Currently, ID WILL automatically search down from the document directory. Thus, IN A SENSE, ID has "relative" capabilities, but only down, see?

                                      Of course, Grant, telling ID to go up a certain number of directories before beginning a downward search won't truly solve your problem. You'd still have to be able to guarantee you didn't move anything out of the specified "top level" directory.
                                      • 16. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                        Level 1
                                        Bucky, that's exactly right. But assuming you just changed the name of one folder in the process (not the top level folder), then it would indeed be beneficial.
                                        • 17. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                          Level 1
                                          can't everyone stop asking why it needs to be done and just tell us how to do it. The guy wants to use relative links because he damn well feels like it so stop asking him why and just tell him how its done because I also need to know. We've got 20 staff each working on 2-3 ~150 page magazines/books each with a tonne of links and every time they're packaged and saved on to our file server and re-opened on another machine, the docuements need to be re-linked. It can be done automatically but this process just takes too damn long in some cases. We need to be able to open these docuemnts on differnt machines and be able to start working on them immediately. We've got deadlines and can't afford to waste time re-linking.
                                          How the hell do you make all the links in a document relative instead of absolute... simple bloody question. how the hell do you do it???
                                          if you don't know, please don't answer!!!
                                          • 18. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                            Level 1
                                            > How the hell do you make all the links in a document relative instead of absolute?

                                            You do realise this is a feature request forum and that this thread exists precisely because it can't be done?
                                            • 19. Re: Relative Link Paths
                                              Level 1
                                              Maybe this won't apply to the person with the ID software issue.

                                              However, you can make relative links in a PDF. At least in my experience with MS Word, it is relatively easy - no pun intended.
                                              It requires setting the relative link in the origin document as a hyperlink, and then PDFing the MS Word file - using the Distiller button - directly from MS Word. Maybe you have this capability from the ID software. Check for a PDF Maker toolbar in "View Toolbars" to see if the button is available.

                                              My biggest issue is getting Acrobat to PDF any individual or batch of files and maintain the relative links I set within MS Word.
                                              For some reason, Acrobat changes all my relative links to absolute links. I wish it wouldn't do this, as our department has a large number of files that occassionally have to be rePDFd, and the batch process is the easiest method of PDFing over five hundred files at a time. (We have a document repository of over 15,000 files in over 1,600 folders. We also make our repository available on DVD; this is why we use relative links.)

                                              Graham Cooke